Title: COOKIE-CUTTER RESPONSE TO CELESTIAL ANCIENT YEARNING at a Christmas Craft Workshop (NWPL’s first “Adult Crafternoon”) (words in brackets are optional in title)

EKPHRASTIC #1Media: multi-media, cream card stock, 8.5×11, framed. Date: December 2016. $50.00

Celeste Snowber wrote a fine poem, “Ancient Yearning”, as her contribution to the show “Community”, on at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster till June 1st, 2017. The opening of this ekphrastic show was part of LitFest New West. As I was late with my poetic submission, I was invited to do a visual art piece, and was paired with Celeste.

Never apologize, never explain? I didn’t have much time. My long title says it all? As I entered the Christmas Craft workshop, the first “Adult Crafternoon” at the library, I perhaps should have explained my need.

So far my art, emerging in 2014 with some success, had been contour drawings, done for the most part “blindly” – without looking at the paper. I worked with felt pens on cream card stock, 8.5×11”. My first framed piece was accepted for the inaugural show in the community gallery at the Anvil Centre. The theme was the famous “Wait for Me, Daddy” photo, and the installation of the new “war memorial” sculpture in nearby Hyack Square. My original simple depiction (black on cream) titled “Two Dimensions”,  sold.

Also in 2014, I was commissioned to do portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, regular features in the Royal Centre Mall. My series of six Santas in different colours has been well received. In 2016, “Blue Santa #3” was chosen for a holiday card for the City of New Westminster, for its Parks Board use. The library presented my first solo show in December 2016, featuring the “Santa Series”. They wanted poems as well. Christmas cards have also been available. You can see these drawings on previous blog posts.

Now, back to the Christmas Craft workshop, where maybe I should have asked permission to do something other than a Christmas decoration.

Burlap was big. (Impressive wreaths were fashioned from burlap.) I chose this piece with print to represent a torso. The words kept at the top mean “ED(it)? OR(???)”. At the bottom, the thought continues with “(you) MAY (be) CERT(ain)”. Maybe that should have been the tile for the piece. Or an alternate title, added on? What a naughty idea. Even though some of my ultra-short poems have done so well, I find long titles fun.

The picture on the burlap seems exotic, maybe Asian. As this is a torso, and my poet Celeste Snowber is a creative dancer, I wish that I had made it “swirl” somehow. I wanted more fluidity in this response to her poem.

The star, the heart and the tree are tracings of cookie cutters provided for use at the event. These images appear in Celeste’s poem. Perhaps there is no “star” in the poem, but I was inspired by her name…thus a reference included in my title. From Google we have…”adjective: celestial – positioned in or relating to the sky, or outer space as observed in astronomy… belonging or relating to heaven… supremely good”. I am complimenting her poem as well, in this title.

I don’t have Celeste’s poem here, it seems. Perhaps she will agree to post it for us.

The cookie cutter pictures are stilted, perhaps showing my nervousness in working on my first multi-media piece, which was to be part of a show. How I wish they were “cocky”, dancing on the page. This was so unlike the line drawings that I had done. Those had received support from people in the art community – people whose opinions I respect so much. Maybe they would be disappointed. This was certainly a “naïve” multi-media effort.

The OHs here are upside down HOs, cut from Christmas ribbon. Those on a cord are Tibetan prayer flags, again an exotic reference. While not necessarily “prayers”, they do signify “awe”. Perhaps the image on the torso can be taken to be Tibetan also, although it and the burlap sack may have originated in South America.

“Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading (sic) space.” (Wikipedia)

I was booked to return from Argentina in time to deliver this art piece to the Anvil Centre (a bit late, but with permission). I think I knew I had to rework the framing. With time, I might have even redone the effort, bringing it the fluidity I believe it deserved. I wanted more “dance” on the paper. With our return delayed, I had to depend on my sister and an Arts Council employee for the “touch-up” and timely delivery.

Never apologize, never explain? You didn’t ask, I know. But I did want to put this out there, as a kind of “Artist’s Statement”. I have to miss this entire two-month art show at the Anvil Centre, as I am being “held captive” by circumstances in Argentina, even a month longer than the previous adjusted date of travel home. I’m hoping to see photos of the show. Maybe you can get there by June 1st, the last full day for it.


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